up and down
Not just any milkshake, the be-all end-all of milkshakes at this place in the corner of the universe. Always closed before 5 p.m.
I’m at the University of Hawaii, my old stomping grounds, looking for food when I spy this milkshake shack, which also sells trinkets like it was in the middle of Uganda. Whatever, I go, I order one milkshake, chocolate, famous.
I thumb through my husband’s wallet of ones and fives, some packed together in a yellow open envelope — all unrecognizable. “Did the Mandela Effect change the currency while I was gone?” I joke, nervously, picking out another five-dollar-bill to replace the other one that looked like a relic out of the Ming Dynasty.
Somehow, she left the milkshake on the outside counter too long and these idiots on unicycles crashed into the side, sending most of the chocolate-y elixir flying.
I wound up empty-handed and out $5. I don’t know how. Talked myself into believing they were selling these exotic milkshakes for charity.
I did not want to be stuck here surrounded by retro diners. Where is that Chinese place with the dim sum carts?
Dream, May 21, 2018
I hold him, tight, and
he forgets me. As if I broke
some kind of wicked spell in reverse.
I watch the light go out in his eyes that saw
split infinity, we were once
children chasing rainbows, playing
jacks and catching potato bugs, telling
each other’s secrets, broken blood games,
comic trades and festooned parades.
He is my starlight in a dream,
a blog of 5
where do you go, while I am here?
on the road, on fire, on a wild tear somewhere between
here and out to sea?
I can’t talk. I’m afraid of what I cannot say. Words a cipher, immigrant talk
I would hold you, but you would not go with me
back to when we first began
stealing apples, running into the woods, the old man and his tall tales, the smoke stacks into the gods of nowhere, we counted stars and fireflies, they’ve all since diminished
5 of us now
I talk a lot in my dreams. To a variety of people I just met. This last one, I kept trying to get something real out of a man who caught my eye. He let me touch him. There and there. And he felt familiar, in a nice, Welcome Home.
In most of my dreams, I’m definitely a straight female attracted to male energy. A lot of our dreams, I believe, are disaffected, muted, and destroyed by what’s going on inside of our bodies, hormones and allergies, sleep apnea and anxiety.
It’s why I can never eat a croissant without suffering guilt. I’m in a dream!
I have to sort through what feels real, what moves me. What is, not what I wish it to be, because his eyes are blue or his shoulders, broad, or, whatever.
When I’m awake, I’m frustrated by the words I don’t know, the words I cannot say to fix or touch or move someone else. (Much less me.)
I have no idea how I affect people, other than the imperfect words they use at the moment. And even then, I have to question whether their words are genuine, off the cuff, or bait. To survive. To protect myself.
Good. Good isn’t good enough.
The other night, I was with a friend (I’m trying to make) as she went over the highlights of her life. A nice woman, worn down by life. She’s much younger than me. She experienced a great many beautiful suitors, men who genuinely desired her for her, a great many more who would sign up to spend even five minutes with her in a heartbeat.
Me, not so much. It’s never been that way.
I look at these pictures of other women. Some aren’t so very different. Others are much less attractive in terms of weight, physical presence, the way they present themselves.
I’m just not… enough. I was never enough even for my current husband, but he married me anyway. At the time, I was hardly the ugliest girl in the school. Although, that’s what they said I was.
What do people want? I don’t know.
I’m … autistic that way.
“He is sweet on you.” More than a house wive.
Who used that term anymore?
The gentleman in a suit sees what could have been, had I went down the other road. Actress. Singer. Performer. Nomad, like him.
Is he in love with these women? Parts of me? Characters I’m meant to play? Roles I’ve already inhabited?
His hands tremble, hovering over my core. A light from a window reminds us it’s time for the show.
I am on a roof overlooking an industrial wasteland, waters near the edge. Inky black water, is what we would read in our favorite detective novels.
He is close, too close. I wrap my arms around him, lean my head against his chest. Dying for the climax. He stands very, very still, arms straight at his side, afraid to move, afraid of me, afraid to (finally) define the long-standing allegory of our musical notes.
Mixed messages, the door marked honor, down a ramp they remove before setting up spotlights. Go now.
There is a street fair outside. The biggest gathering of dancers preparing to learn and compete. They don’t know a flood is waiting for them, stage left.
This woman in tights details her group’s excitement. “Every year, we come to this town for the music and the dancing. They teach us dances from all over the world. I love the dances from Rio.” Everything she says sounds so normal, so real.
I go to get a better look when I hear the water coming.
it was real
god help me, it was real
There is no room here in this shrinking space for poetry, the marriage of two or more jostling for the lone spotlight, Hamlet or Dubois, I miss the days one stanza completed what I felt
trapped in ALS, or some such number
where can I go to catch his hand
he left it in the air
between us, fireflies mist the vapor of his last breath
I go through men, dresses in my mother’s closet, the make-up on her dresser
who will catch me in this velvet floor-length gown,
darker than the night your eyes closed against the small of my back
just to find the one who remembers the scene I left behind
the little massacre of our bodies colliding into one star
velvety red, glistening — Kool-Aid and garnets —
you are not the one
Revelation or hormones? The end result is still the same: I can’t.
Falling into a helpless dream like this is like watching someone else’s film, someone younger, prettier, full of raging youth.
I don’t think I’ve ever quite felt like this before. It was nice to inhabit the body of someone capable of so much desire, of compelling that same helpless desire in another human being.
We are drawn to each other, through time, circumstance, even bodies. I saw him in all his glory, as he melted into mine, bystanders be damned.
A true scandal. She would blush to know such scandal and such bliss.
I’ve seen love like this in the best movies, heard about it in beautiful music that left me breathless. I’m listening to a snippet right now, remembering him tugging at me, falling into me, drinking me in, every last, messy, forbidden drop.
We carried our secret from head to toe, pulsating, glowing in place, I imagine. Everyone could see our … fever. Trying not to show what’s going on inside. Unable to resist one passing look over our shoulder, plotting the next time. Things on the table, resumes, plans, careers, everything lining up, but inside, inside, we’re out of control.
Magnets. The world could end. Wars, separation, the laundry, gossip… None of that mattered when we were together.
He’s mine. All mine. I wrap my fingers around his wild dark hair. He buries his face in mine, sucking on thick tendrils, his wild dark eyes opening with wonder, delight, and greed. He grows inside me, filling up every empty space, threatening to swallow us both. I want to die right there in a bloody heap, a tangle of flesh and bone.
Is this real? I hope so.